The Labor Day holiday weekend was everything but holiday weekend for both the restaurant owners and the restaurant workers.
Unlike any other year before, local businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, are facing staffing shortages, something that has been a trend in the last couple of months now.
Despite the state officials’ efforts to help the business owners struggling with staff, the problem is still persistent and it looks like it won’t be solved anytime soon.
Unemployment benefits expired for millions on Monday and a new report found there’s now more job openings than unemployed Americans.
Currently, the unemployment rate in Palmetto State is 4.3% which is almost one percent less compared than a year ago, but businesses are still struggling with workers.
The Labor Day was everything but a holiday for restaurant workers. Just when everyone had their day off to spend time with friends and family, restaurant workers had to work extra shifts and extra hours to meet the increased operations.
El Jefe Texican Cantina on King Street welcomed customers and workers alike. The restaurant now has a large banner on display out front offering applicants a free taco and plenty of other incentives. Co-owner Roy Neal said business as usual is more unusual these days.
“My partner and I are both working, host jobs, busboy jobs, doing whatever we can because we have a tremendous following which is great but at the same time, we need more people,” said co-owner Roy Neal. “We’re doing everything we can to get through each day as long as we get through each day, we look forward to tomorrow.”
South Carolina cut the federal benefits earlier than their official end date. However, since June when they were ended, not much has changed, business owners claim. Following that, they don’t expect much of a change to happen right now when they are officially over across the country.
“I think a lot of the labor market in my opinion, and some of the restaurant owners, part of the labor market have left the industry and gone to different jobs whether it’s Walmart or Amazon or things like that,” Neal said. “They’re Uber drivers or Uber Eats drivers, I think they just left the hospitality business.”
The positive thing for the restaurants is that everyone is seeing increased number of clients, even more compared to the pre-pandemic period, but they struggle with staff.
“We’ve got great support of people coming into town that just brings more business, but we need some patience from customers because we’re probably operating at 200-percent and only have 100-percent of the staff,” he said.